To do lists are something that I can’t live without. I mean seriously, I would never get anything done without my to do lists. But as much as I love my to do lists, they can be so overwhelming. I’ll be the first to admit that learning how to manage my to list took some time.
There will be days where I just cannot bring myself to tackle my to do list despite the fact that I have so much to get done! I still can’t seem to figure out why somedays my to do lists are big and scary and other days, everything is a piece of cake and I am flying through it.
Maybe it’s the size of list? Or even the actual contents of the list of that day? Maybe I just didn’t get enough coffee in me that morning, who knows! What I do know is that no matter how overwhelming your to do list may be, YOU have the ability to conquer it.
I have put together a list of my best tips and tricks to show you how to manage your to do list everyday, and how to overcome the overwhelm.
Related: 12 Ways to Get Unstuck When You Find Yourself in a Rut
1. Write down everything
It is so much easier for me to manage my to do list everyday when I can clearly see everything that I have to do.
When you keep things in your head, it can also be easy to miss important things. It can even make it seem like you have more to do than you actually do!
There have been so many times when I have found myself dreading getting started on my to-do list because I thought I had so much to do. But when I took the time to actually write everything out, it really wasn’t that much at all.
2. Do a little at time
If the tasks on your to do list are big and scary, try doing just a little bit at a time to get yourself started. A little bit of something done is a whole lot better than nothing being done at all.
For example, if you have lots of laundry to do, try just doing one load and moving on to your next task. If you make it back to the laundry, great if not, it is just fine. It is so important and more than okay to give yourself a little grace if you find yourself overwhelmed.
3. Make small daily goals
Establishing a few smaller daily goals can help you give you the motivation that you need to keep moving forward to conquering your to do list.
When you reach your goals, don’t be afraid to give yourself a reward! Setting mini goals for yourself can give you just the push you need to keep going.
4. Keep a “done” list
There’s just something about looking back at what all I have accomplished throughout the day that makes me feel motivated.
It can be easy to get so caught up on completing your list that you forget how much you have accomplished throughout the day.
Sometimes those last couple of tasks can be the hardest to get through. Looking back at what you have already completed can help give you that little extra push to keep moving forward.
5. Create sections
It is a lot easier to manage your to do list when you have all of your tasks separated into sections. By creating sections in your to do list, you will be able to see exactly what you need to for each category of tasks that you have.
For example, if you have tasks around the house, for work, and different errands to run, you can separate the group of tasks for each of those categories.
6. Implement themed days
I have found that on weeks when I am super busy that theming my days can drastically relieve any unnecessary stress. Implementing themed days allows you to complete certain tasks on a specific day of the week. This method will probably work better if you are someone who works from home, or has a pretty flexible work schedule.
Here is an example:
Work: Tuesday & Thursday
7. Categorize and prioritize
On days where my to do lists are overwhelming, I like to tackle my tasks by priority level. As you are you making your to do list, determine which tasks are most time sensitive and most important to your daily goals.
Schedule these tasks in the beginning of your day to make sure that they get done first. This way you will be more likely to get them done!
8. Just Start
When your do list is overwhelming and you have a mountain of things to do, remember the first thing you can do is JUST START. Somewhere, anywhere. Once you get going you will see how much easier things begin to get!
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Thanks for this awesome guide! I love the idea for making themed days—it almost reminds me of how a workout plan will focus on different parts of the body on each day. This also makes me think that it’s a good idea to set up “rest days” where you can relax and think about something other than your to-do list, just like rest days in workout plans. Cheers!
Yes it’s totally the same thing! Thanks for bringing that up!!